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"Joe Bloggs" and "Fred Bloggs" are placeholder names used primarily in the United Kingdom to represent the average man on the street. It is used by students, on standardized test preparation courses, to represent the average test-taker. Many countries, such as the United States, Germany or South Africa, use their own unique placeholder names, some even used tongue in cheek. Sometimes the name will be useful as a quick alternative, or stalling mechanism especially when used in conjunction with "What's'isname?" and "'im down the street", when a forgotten name sits on the tip of the tongue.
In The Princeton Review standardized test preparation courses, "Joe Bloggs" represents the average test-taker, and students are trained to identify the "Joe Bloggs answer", or the choice which seems right but may be misleading on harder questions.
The name Bloggs is believed to have been derived from the East Anglian region of Britain, Norfolk or Suffolk, deriving from bloc, a bloke. In the UK, a "bloke" represents the average man on the street.
In the United Kingdom and United States, John has historically been one of the most common male first names, and Smith is the most common surname in each, so "John Smith" is a recurrent pseudonym and placeholder name in those countries (especially in legal contexts).
In South Africa, Jan van der Merwe, Koos van der Merwe and sometimes used tongue in cheek, is Piet Pompies. These are Afrikaans examples of placeholder names very often used in jokes and stories.
Other placeholders, often used in advertising store cards and credit cards, are Mr/Mrs A Smith or A. N. Other.
- "SAT Test Prep — The Princeton Review". Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- Weir, Laura. "Joe Bloggs". Drapers. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
- "Surname Database: Blogg Last Name Origin". Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- "Popularity for JOHN". Mike Campbell. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
- "Rankings for SMITH". Mike Campbell. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-05.